Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Momentum Building Win

Let me first start off by saying this: If Josh Beckett complains one more time about a batter "showing him up" by hitting a home run and flipping the bat I'm going to freak out. This coming from a guy whose team, the Boston Red Sox, have had two guys notoriously watch their home runs and take 30 seconds to round the bases for years in Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. If you get that upset about it, then don't give up a 426-foot BOMB that one hops the warehouse to Luke Scott. It's that simple.

Now to the game.

The Orioles did everything right in the first few innings off of Beckett. They worked the count and stayed within themselves before finally getting the break they needed when Derrek Lee's pop up fell in in front of Jacoby Ellsbury in right center field. Scott came up and homered right after to give them a lead. Adam Jones then followed with a homer to left field to make the score 3-0 in the 4th inning.

The momentum began shifting in the top of the same inning when Nick Markakis threw out Ortiz at the plate to keep it a 0-0 game. Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie threw six scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 2.53. It's important to realize that Guthrie got out of a few jams by making quality pitches and kept his team in the game when it could have easily been two or three to nothing Sox after the first inning.

The Orioles added a run in the fifth to make it 4-0 and kept it that way until the eighth inning when the bullpen began falling apart. Unable to use dominant reliever Jim Johnson for a second consecutive night, Jeremy Accardo gave up a hit to Ellsbury and a walk to Pedroia before ceding to LHP Clay Rapada to face Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez lined a hit to left-center to put the Red Sox on the board. RHP Koji Uehara was brought in to face Kevin Youkilis, and promptly gave up a game-tying three-run homer. Uehara bounced back to keep the score at 4-4.

Markakis opened the bottom of the eighth with a single to right and Lee singled to left afterwards. A passed ball from catcher Jason Varitek allowed the runners to move up to 2nd and 3rd. Another passed ball resulted in Markakis being thrown out at the plate, but Vladimir Guerrero picked him up with the go-ahead single to center.

Closer Kevin Gregg came in for a 1-2-3 ninth inning to give the Orioles a big win. If they had ended up losing this game entirely it could have sent them on another tailspin like the game against the Yankees a few weeks back where they were up 5-0 and lost.

The Orioles are setting themselves up to go on a nice run this next week with the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals coming up next. They should get SP Brian Matusz back soon, which is going to make a big difference, too. With Wieters starting to hit line drives and Jones getting his swing back, the offense should get better, as well. Once Markakis starts hitting (and he will) this team can certainly put a few games together.

Check back today or tomorrow for a look at Matt Wieters newfound swing.

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